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Odisha Activist Runs Home for Children of Convicts to Provide Them a Better Life

Nirajalaxmi Mohapatra started a hostel in Bhubaneswar in 2003 for children of convicted persons. (Credit: ANI/Twitter)

Nirajalaxmi Mohapatra started a hostel in Bhubaneswar in 2003 for children of convicted persons. (Credit: ANI/Twitter)

Children from all walks of life and in different age groups have been growing up together at the hostel started by Nirajalaxmi Mohapatra in Bhubaneswar.

A woman in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar has been running a hostel for the children of convicts since almost two decades. Nirajalaxmi Mohapatra from Bhubaneswar started the hostel in 2003 for these children who are unable to provide a proper childhood for them. Nirajalaxmi’s selfless endeavour has borne fruit throughout the years and 200 children of the convicts have been brought up to give them a life with education and jobs eventually. Children from all walks of life and in different age groups have been growing up and interact together at the ‘Madhurmayee Adarsha Siksha Niketan’ in Bhubaneswar.

Speaking about the hostel and the children who have been calling it their home since so many years, Nirajalaxmi told news agency ANI, “We take responsibility for education, health and overall development of children, we bring them here with permission of jail authorities.”

An incident way back in 2003 had put Nirajalaxmi on this selfless path. Working in close contact with women prison convicts back then, she had once found 2 children playing in the Bhubaneswar Special Jail. Upon enquiring the jail authorities told her since the entire family had been convicted, the kids had been left all alone.

This prompted the social activist to do something for these children and she sought permissions and worked out all the required legal and other procedures needed to help build a home for these children for them to lead a life of respect and dignity and do something good with their life, she told The Better India.

Some of them came to Nirajalaxmi way back in 2003 and have never left, pursuing education and then jobs and thus aiming to eke out a decent life. One Manas Ranjan Sahoo, who has been a the hostel since 2003, said “I came here in 2003, now I’m pursuing MCA and also working with a company. Niraja madam is both mother and father for us. Whatever we are today is because of her. 200 of us have grown up here and are working now.”

(With inputs from ANI)